There is something utterly compelling about Bao. These Easy Vegan Hoisin Seitan Ch'kn Bao are a total favourite mid-week dinner at our place! Let me tell you why!
Bao are fluffy little steamed buns that you fill with delicious savoury goodies. We cheat a little and buy our Bao ready to steam. You can find them in Asian supermarkets, or even in our local larger supermarket. We love to make up a few yummy filling options, then help ourselves to the fillings as we like, piling the fluffy vegan bao up with seitan, pickles, herbs and layering with spicy mayo!
- Bao Buns Fluffy buns that are steamed before filling. You can make your own from scratch, but we buy them from our Asian or local large supermarket. You can even buy them premade online.
- Seitan Chicken Here we have used our own seitan chicken recipe (full recipe here) but we often use a vegan chicken from the supermarket too.
- Hoisin Sauce Most Hoisin sauce is vegan (yay- but check the label). Our absolute fave has got to be The Garlic Farm hoisin sauce because of the lovely garlicky flavour it brings to the dish, but use any hoisin that you happen to love.
- Quick Pickles (or kimchi!) I like to make a jar of pickled radishes and red onions to keep in the fridge and put on everthing (recipe is coming SOON for this!) Or use your favourite pickled onions or some kimchi (we love this one).
- Fresh Herbs I love to add fresh coriander and mint to my bao. If you can find Vietnamese basil, then that would also be amazing. Or even a sprinkle of chives or fresh chopped spring onions tastes great.
- Spicy Sriracha Mayo Optional but delicious. Make your own by mixing your favourite hot sauce in with some mayo. Or try one of the many vegan Sriracha Mayos that are around. I like the Flying Goose brand.
I think one of the reasons I love making these Easy Vegan Hoisin Seitan Ch'kn Bao for dinner so much is that it's super easy to make them!
1)Prep all the ingredients and have them ready to assemble. I like to lay everything out so that everyone can help themselves! Little bowls full of chopped herbs. Pickles out and of course the mayo or sauces you want to add.
2) Now pan-fry the vegan seitan chicken in a little oil. Let it get a little crispy at the edges, then simply pour over 2-3 tablespoons (aka a big old glug) of hoisin sauce. Stir around to warm through and it's ready to go into the buns.
3) While you are pan-frying the seitan chicken, steam the buns in a bamboo steamer - or just use your vegetable steamer for about 3-4 minutes.
4) To fill the bao, gently open them out, then stuff with the vegan hoisin chicken, herbs, pickles and sauce!
3-4 minutes until puffed up and fluffy
The bao are best served hot and just made. I have reheated pre-stuffed bao in a steamer, and it worked out ok as leftovers. I wouldn't serve them cold however, I don't think they would be super tasty.
I used this seitan chicken recipe Basic Vegan Seitan Chicken (no wash method) I make it up in huge batches and freeze in 2 person portions. But you can use any commercial vegan 'chicken'.
Here are some great ideas to serve alongside (or inside!) your Bao!
Easy Vegan Hoisin Seitan Ch'kn Bao
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- Prepare your steamer to steam the bao. Put in some boiling water. Put the bao into the steamer basket and put the lid on.
- Shred the seitan chicken (if it isn't already in small pieces)
- Gently pan fry the seitan chk'n until just crispy on the outside. Add the hoisin sauce.
- Fry for a minute or so until all combined and warmed through.
- Remove the bao from the steamer. (carefully!)
- To serve each bao: Split the bun, then add the Hoisin Seitan Chicken, herbs, pickles and spicy mayo to taste.